Director Gary Ross did a fantastic job bringing Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games to life, but there’s a chance he might not direct the sequel. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the co-writer and director of the $373 million dollar smash hit is renegotiating his contract and trying to get more money for the sequel, Catching Fire, but no one is sure if he and Lionsgate will come to terms. More below.
This isn’t an altogether uncommon practice, especially when filmmakers have a hit on their hands: Jon Favreau pulled a similar stunt after the success of Iron Man, and ended up working out a deal with Marvel to return for the sequel. But there are certainly instances of it going in the other direction, too – most notably, with Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke being kicked to the curb for a sequel to her film, which was also a huge success.
To make matters worse, Catching Fire already has a November 22, 2013 release date penciled onto calendars with a script from Slumdog Millionaire writer Simon Beaufoy, so I’m sure Lionsgate would like to avoid pushing that back if they can help it. But they might not have any option, especially if Ross’ negotiations take longer than expected and if Fox exercises a right on Jennifer Lawrence’s X-Men contract, which she might have to shoot a sequel to X-Men: First Class before she returned to the role of Katniss in Catching Fire.
There’s no danger of them making another Hunger Games film without the core trio of Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth because the actors all signed three-picture deals at the start. But we very well could see a Harry Potter-esque situation here, where the studio decides they want to bring in someone with a different vision to sit in the director’s chair and take the franchise in another direction. If Ross doesn’t return, who would you like to see direct Catching Fire?